WBEZ | Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en More than 21K early votes cast in Chicago runoff election http://www.wbez.org/news/more-21k-early-votes-cast-chicago-runoff-election-111766 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/earlyvoting_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than 21,000 people have taken advantage of early voting in Chicago over the first two days.</p><p>A spokesman with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners says 7,914 early voting ballots were cast Monday, and nearly 13,100 were cast Tuesday. He says that data brings the board&#39;s unofficial two-day total to 21,012 votes.</p><p>The board says it&#39;s the largest number of ballots cast during the first two days of early voting for any municipal election in Chicago.</p><p>The first municipal election to offer early voting in February 2007 drew more than 1,440 votes in the first two days. Early voting for the February 2011 election saw over 8,550 votes in the first two days.</p><p>Almost 11,640 votes were cast in the first two days of early voting ahead of the February 2015 election.</p></p> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-21k-early-votes-cast-chicago-runoff-election-111766 Under Emanuel, more unsolved murders, fewer detectives http://www.wbez.org/news/under-emanuel-more-unsolved-murders-fewer-detectives-111750 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmmccarthy_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>▲ <strong>Listen to the full story</strong></p><p>In his reelection campaign, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking credit for a <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/gradingrahm/#public_safety">slight decline in the city&rsquo;s homicide rate</a>. But a WBEZ investigation raises a question about the murders that are still happening: Is the city doing enough to put the killers behind bars?</p><p>Emanuel has allowed detective ranks to decline during his term even as internal police records show some of the lowest murder clearance rates in decades. Our story (listen above) explores those rates through the eyes of city detectives and a mother who lost her 18-year-old daughter in an unsolved case last October.</p><p>A few notes about the data (charted below): Regarding the detectives, the number on the payroll is down by about 19 percent since Emanuel took office, according to records obtained by WBEZ under the state Freedom of Information Act. The ranks of evidence technicians and forensic investigators have thinned by even larger proportions.</p><p>Detectives say the drops owe to regular attrition such as retirements and promotions. A police spokesman says the city is planning to add 150 new detectives this year. But they won&rsquo;t make up for the attrition during the mayor&rsquo;s term.</p><p>About the murder clearances, the department calculates the rate two ways. The simple way accounts only for cases closed in the same calendar year in which the murder took place. By that gauge, the police cleared 28.7 percent of last year&rsquo;s murders. The other calculation &mdash; the one preferred by the city &mdash; includes clearances of murders committed in previous years, leading to a 2014 rate of 51.8 percent. By either measure, the city&rsquo;s clearance rate is near its lowest level in decades. Chicago&rsquo;s also doing poorly compared to other big cities, according to <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-25/table_25_percent_of-offenses_cleared_by_arrest_by_population_group_2013.xls">FBI clearance figures for 2013</a>, the most recent year available.</p><p>Zooming in further, the term &ldquo;cleared&rdquo; means <em>closed</em> but not necessarily <em>solved</em>. In some cleared cases, the killer was not charged or even arrested. During Emanuel&rsquo;s term, roughly a quarter of the murder cases the police have closed were &ldquo;exceptional clearances&rdquo; because, for example, the suspect had died or fled the country or because prosecutors had declined to bring charges for various reasons, including a refusal by witnesses to testify. Last year, 42 of 213 clearances were &ldquo;exceptional.&rdquo;</p><div id="responsive-embed-clearance-absolute">&nbsp;</div><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-absolute/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-clearance-absolute', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-absolute/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-clearance-rate">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-clearance-rate', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-rate/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-investigators-line">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-investigators-line', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/investigators-line/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-investigators-table">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-investigators-table', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/investigators-table/child.html', {} ); }); </script></p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/under-emanuel-more-unsolved-murders-fewer-detectives-111750 Chicago mayor's race reveals deep divide in democratic party http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayors-race-reveals-deep-divide-democratic-party-111730 <p><p>One of the nation&#39;s savviest politicians is in an unexpected fight.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama&#39;s former White House chief of staff, is in an unprecedented runoff election next month.</p><p>The challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia, contends that Emanuel favors the rich and powerful over working-class Chicagoans. But Emanuel is firing back, attacking Garcia for having no plan to deal with the city&#39;s deep financial problems.</p><p>Emanuel is the first incumbent Chicago mayor to be forced into a primary runoff &mdash; and it&#39;s a race that&#39;s signaling a deeper, growing divide between liberal and more moderate Democrats.</p><p>Several national progressive groups, including Democracy for America, MoveOn.org and the American Federation of Teachers, have banded together to take the fight to Emanuel in what they see as a fight between the &quot;Elizabeth Warren Wing&quot; and the &quot;Wall Street Wing&quot; of the Democratic Party.</p><blockquote><p><strong><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/03/18/393870531/chicago-race-exposes-progressive-wall-street-wings-of-democratic-party">Chicago Race Exposes Progressive, Wall Street Wings Of Democratic Party</a></strong></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Taking It To The Streets</span></p><p>Garcia walked through the Englewood neighborhood on the city&#39;s South Side with a natural ease that comes from three decades in Chicago politics, shaking hands with residents, talking with them about their jobs, families, and schools. And, of course, asking for their support.</p><p>For many residents of this mostly African-American community, the attention is welcome.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m a neighborhood guy,&quot; he told residents.</p><p>That is the key distinction Garcia is trying to make in his campaign to unseat Emanuel, the first-term mayor: that he is of the neighborhoods and for the neighborhoods, while Emanuel&#39;s policies benefit the wealthy downtown.</p><p>&quot;Chicago neighborhoods are hurting,&quot; he said. &quot;They haven&#39;t seen much recovery since the recession, and that will be the paradigm shift under my administration.&quot;</p><p>Garcia walked door to door on this block during recent campaigning, in particular because it&#39;s home of one of the 50 schools Emanuel&#39;s administration closed two years ago.</p><p>Carrissa Johnson, 38, who works in the Social Security Administration, says her son now has to walk a longer, more dangerous route to school. And she&#39;s also upset about the lack of investment in Englewood and neighborhoods like it under Emanuel.</p><p><img alt="" beaty="" chicago.="" class="image-original_image" day="" during="" garcia="" in="" parade="" paul="" s="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chuy-npr.jpg" st.="" style="height: 210px; width: 280px; float: right;" the="" title="Samantha Hernandez, 17, poses for a selfie with Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus " />&quot;I don&#39;t think that he really cares about the inner community,&quot; she said. &quot;I think everything goes more so up north than comes here.&quot;</p><p>Johnson admitted she &quot;really doesn&#39;t know too much about&quot; Garcia, but she added, &quot;I don&#39;t think that it can get any worse, because Emanuel is not really doing his job, so I think that a change is very much needed.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Money Talks</span></p><p>Progressives have highlighted the millions of dollars Emanuel has spent to underscore the perception that he favors the well-heeled and well-connected.</p><p>Campaign finance reports show Emanuel has raked in about eight times as much as Garcia has. Emanuel has raised close to $20 million, including a recent $1.4 million haul from just eight wealthy donors, as of Wednesday.</p><p>Garcia, meanwhile, has raised $2.6 million, much of it from the Chicago Teachers Union, other unions, and progressive groups such as Democracy for America.</p><p>Looking to boost those figures, Garcia has a trip scheduled Thursday to Los Angeles to raise money from Latino business and community leaders.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&#39;A Total Disconnect&#39;</span></p><p>Helping lead Garcia around this neighborhood that has almost as many vacant lots and boarded-up buildings as there are occupied homes and businesses was Bishop James Dukes, pastor of nearby Liberation Christian Center. Dukes said he endorsed and worked for Emanuel&#39;s campaign four years ago.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a total disconnect,&quot; he said of Emanuel now. &quot;At no point does the administration seek the advice and help of those who are in the community until voting time &mdash; until they need us. ... In the meantime, all the decisions are made in a silo.&quot;</p><p>The message that Emanuel seems disengaged from the city&#39;s poorer neighborhoods, that he&#39;s arrogant and even abrasive, appears to be getting through to the mayor. He opened a recent&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjqQWB3WtCo">campaign ad</a>&nbsp;this way:</p><p>&quot;They say your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. I&#39;m living proof of that. I can rub people the wrong way, or talk when I should listen. I own that.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s the first ad Emanuel started airing after failing to get more than 50 percent in February&#39;s election, forcing him into this runoff.</p><p>Emanuel told voters he&#39;s driven to make a difference. That can require tough, even unpopular choices.</p><p>&quot;Look, I&#39;m not going to always get it right,&quot; he said. &quot;But when it comes to fighting for Chicago and Chicago&#39;s future, no one&#39;s going to fight harder.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Trying To Rally Unions</span></p><p>Emanuel has clashed with many of the city&#39;s unions, most notably Chicago&#39;s teachers, who enlisted Garcia to challenge Emanuel.</p><p>The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, which played a critical role on the ground during President Obama&#39;s two presidential campaigns, endorsed Garcia, too.</p><p>Many in labor worry about Emanuel&#39;s close relationship with Illinois&#39; Republican billionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner, who often criticizes unions.</p><p>Emanuel met this week with several African-American labor leaders to try to allay their concerns. When one leader said, &quot;We cannot let Illinois become a right-to-work state,&quot; Emanuel quickly agreed, adding, &quot;I think right-to-work takes the rug from underneath the middle class.&quot;</p><p>On that and other issues, many of the labor leaders said they came away satisfied.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re looking for opportunities for people of color that look like us and a pathway to careers,&quot; said Will Irving, who is with Laborers Local 1001, &quot;and I think we&#39;ve accomplished a steppingstone out of this meeting.&quot;</p><p>When it comes to Emanuel, Irving added, &quot;There are opinions that people have; there are facts about what the mayor has done. The mayor has done a lot of good things with the schools.&quot;</p><p>Irving also cited Emanuel&#39;s efforts in helping develop pathways to careers in the trades, among others, and said the mayor is more inclusive than he gets credit for.</p><p>&quot;We have had a seat at the table,&quot; Irving said.</p><p>Laborers Local 1001 President Nicole Hayes echoed that.</p><p>&quot;I think he has done a great job,&quot; she said, adding, &quot;Under his leadership, the last four years, we&#39;ve acquired almost 400 new positions with him. So we&#39;re endorsing him.&quot;</p><p>Earl Jackson of Plumbers Local 130 said his group is throwing its support to Emanuel.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s doing a good job,&quot; Jackson said.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Emanuel Comes Out Fighting</span></p><p>Never the political equivalent of a shrinking violet, at a debate Monday night, Emanuel hammered Garcia for failing to detail how he would fix city finances.</p><p>&quot;Let me be clear here, there&#39;s a real difference,&quot; he said. &quot;Chuy, you laid out a commission, not a plan.&quot;</p><p>Garcia didn&#39;t back down.</p><p>&quot;This mayor has provided corporate welfare to his cronies, millionaires and billionaires in Illinois,&quot; he hit back, &quot;and he promised four years ago to put Chicago&#39;s fiscal house in order, [but] we&#39;re in a financial free fall.&quot;</p><p>With less than three weeks to go until the April 7 runoff, Emanuel has a sizable lead in the latest polls.</p><p>Progressive groups concede defeating Emanuel is an uphill climb, but they are already satisfied with forcing him into a runoff. And they are confident their message is resonating beyond Chicago.</p><p><em>NPR Political Editor Domenico Montanaro contributed to this report.</em></p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/03/18/393839466/chicago-mayors-race-puts-democratic-divide-in-spotlight">NPR&#39;s It&#39;s All Politics</a></em></p></p> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayors-race-reveals-deep-divide-democratic-party-111730 Garcia, Emanuel battle in heated first debate of runoff http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmchuydebate.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>UPDATED: 1:32 PM 3/17/2015</em></p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s two mayoral hopefuls turned up the heat for their first one-on-one debate Monday night.</p><p>In the first of three live, televised events before the April 7 runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia hit each other in the same spots as usual during the NBC and Telemundo debate: Emanuel criticized Garcia for not giving specifics, and Garcia called out Emanuel for paying too much attention to downtown, rather than the neighborhoods.</p><p>The two went back and forth on a number of topics that are familiar to the campaign trail, like public safety, schools, city finances and red light cameras. On finances, Emanuel said a property tax hike was not on the table, despite comments to the contrary from a top ally last week, as well as a warning from Emanuel himself last Friday that property tax bills would &ldquo;explode&rdquo; if Springfield didn&rsquo;t help reform pensions. Campaign staff later said that property taxes are the &ldquo;very last resort&rdquo; and any increase would &ldquo;protect middle-class homeowners and seniors.&rdquo; The city of Chicago faces a looming $550 million dollar state-mandated payment toward police and fire retirement funds.</p><p>&ldquo;Every effort going forward on police and fire is to avoid a property tax. I&rsquo;ve laid out a specific plan before the election. You&rsquo;ve laid out a commission,&rdquo; Emanuel said to Garcia.</p><p>The mayor says he&rsquo;d ask employees &ldquo;to help us a little&rdquo; to stabilize pensions, and that he&rsquo;d lobby Springfield for reforms to the sales tax and a Chicago-run casino that would be &ldquo;fully dedicated&rdquo; to pensions.</p><p>Meanwhile, Garcia sought to further define himself as the &ldquo;neighborhood guy,&rdquo; taking many opportunities to try and convince viewers not only that his experience in the community will drive his decisions, but that Emanuel focuses too much on the &ldquo;rich and wealthy&rdquo; or on downtown interests.</p><p>&ldquo;The mayor doesn&rsquo;t mind taxing low-income people and working people,&rdquo; Garcia said, referring to the city&rsquo;s red light camera program. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why on day one I will get rid of all those cameras.&rdquo;</p><p>The two candidates also sought to blame the other for the city&rsquo;s financial crisis. Emanuel took a new swipe at his opponent where he maintained that Garcia, as a state senator, voted in 1997 to create a holiday for Chicago Public Schools teacher pension payments. Garcia continued to accuse Emanuel of not following through on his campaign promise to put the city&rsquo;s financial house in order.</p><p>On public safety, Emanuel contended the city was &ldquo;safer than it was before, but not safe enough where people from all parts of the city can enjoy it.&rdquo; Garcia repeated his push for more police officers, and said he&rsquo;d start hiring them with half of what the city spends now on police overtime.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 Chicago universities to Obama: Just don't pick New York for library http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-universities-obama-just-dont-pick-new-york-library-111705 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/obamapullman_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The two Chicago universities in the competition for President Barack Obama&#39;s library came together Monday to send a message to the White House: Choose either one of us, just don&#39;t pick New York.</p><p>Officials from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others gathered in a crowded hotel ballroom for what was billed a &quot;Unity Breakfast.&quot; Speakers took turns reminding the president and the first lady where their roots are and implored them to &quot;bring it on home,&quot; as Carol Adams, a member of the University of Chicago&#39;s Obama library community advisory board, put it.</p><p>&quot;Chicago is the only place with the historic political trajectory of President Barack Obama, and his presidential library should be erected here,&quot; said Adams, a former president of the DuSable Museum of African American History. &quot;&#39;For indeed, he did get there from here.&quot;</p><p>The effort to convince Obama to build his library in the city and not at the University of Hawaii or New York&#39;s Columbia University has been a major story in Chicago &mdash; and has even made its way into next month&#39;s mayoral election between Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia.</p><p>Emanuel, Obama&#39;s former White House chief of staff, has pushed hard for the library and was dealt what was widely seen as a blow to his campaign when it was reported earlier this month that the Obamas would delay announcing their decision until after the April 7 runoff election.</p><p>The mayor did not receive nearly as much support among black voters in last month&#39;s primary as he did when he was elected in 2011, after a campaign in which he made no secret of his access to the president.</p><p>Now, those same voters Emanuel is trying to win back have overwhelmingly supported a project that would bring thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars to one of two predominantly black communities that are in desperate need of some good financial news.</p><p>&quot;It can be on the South Side, it can be on the West Side, but it cannot be on the Upper West Side of Manhattan,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>The mayor also alluded to Garcia without saying his name during a later press briefing, drawing a contrast between himself and his challenger, who initially opposed the transfer of park land on the South Side.</p><p>Emanuel even seemed to suggest that the library foundation wanted to make sure he was re-elected before awarding the library to Chicago &mdash; though individuals with knowledge of the delay told the AP last month that the foundation decided to delay because it did not want to inject itself into a campaign or be seen as giving Emanuel an unfair advantage.</p><p>&quot;I do think the foundation made a decision because they believe leadership counts, and having strong leadership that can make sure you not only have a plan but that you can see it through will help us secure the library,&quot; he said.</p><p>Garcia&#39;s campaign did not immediately return a call for comment.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-universities-obama-just-dont-pick-new-york-library-111705 Emanuel counts surprising projects as neighborhood development http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-counts-surprising-projects-neighborhood-development-111685 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Marriott at McCormick Place.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Critics of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel contend he focuses too much on what is good for downtown and not enough on neighborhoods.</p><p>In campaign speeches the mayor vigorously rebutts that. One of his regular sounding points is the $4 billion spent on seven neighborhoods through a program called Neighborhoods Now.</p><p>The mayor reaches that $4 billion number by bundling together a hodgepodge of investments: federal dollars, city dollars, and lots of private cash spent on private ventures.</p><p>Some of the projects are exactly what one would expect from neighborhood development: a grocery store in Englewood, train line updates in Rogers Park, and a wellness center in Little Village.</p><p>But some of the projects WBEZ found in the full list might not be what an average Chicagoan expects when you hear Emanuel describe a program guided by the belief that Chicago&rsquo;s success is measured by &ldquo;whether our families can raise their children in our neighborhoods.&rdquo;</p><p>For example, the full Neighborhoods Now list counts the $44 million in private money SOHO House brought to the West Loop. Soho House is a hip membership club. It requires a headshot, application, and approval from a board to join.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A quarter of public dollars in one area</span></p><p>Not all the projects on Emanuel&rsquo;s Neighborhoods Now list are privately financed like the Soho house. Nearly a half-billion dollars, ($457,815,397 to be exact) came from the city budget.</p><p>Almost one quarter of those dollars went to an area right around the McCormick Place convention center in the South Loop. It includes two hotels and a new green line L stop. There is also a big stadium where DePaul athletes can play basketball games.</p><p>All that&rsquo;s included as Neighborhood Now, listed under the Bronzeville Neighborhood, just to the south.</p><p>Pat Dowell is the alderman there for the 3rd Ward. Her office said it expects the hotels to bring more people into the the Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>But Harold Lucas with the Black Metropolis Convention &amp; Tourism Council isn&rsquo;t so ready to praise the move. He&rsquo;s been a big advocate for bringing attention to Bronzeville. Does the development around McCormick Place sound like neighborhood investment to him?</p><p>&ldquo;It does not, &ldquo; Lucas said. &ldquo;And it tells us we need to be civically engaged ... In making sure that we benefit.&rdquo;</p><p>Lucas said real neighborhood development would have brought bigger investments in community-owned businesses and projects committed to preserving Bronzeville&#39;s rich African-American history.</p><p>There is a bit of a warning in what Lucas is saying. Chicagoans have to pay close attention to what is being touted as community development&mdash;maybe especially around election time.</p><p>They should scrutinize broad initiatives and big money numbers and find out, in concrete terms, what they mean block to block.</p><p>Cook County Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia&rsquo;s office didn&rsquo;t respond to repeated requests to describe his specific plans for neighborhoods.</p><p>Emanuel has said if he is re-elected he would double Neighborhoods Now.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her</em><a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h"><em> @shannon_h</em></a></p></p> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 09:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-counts-surprising-projects-neighborhood-development-111685 Morning Shift: Post-election special http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-25/morning-shift-post-election-special-111621 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Fuzzy%20Gerdes.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008052&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Jobs, the economy and education</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We talk about future plans for mayoral run-off contender Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia and delve into current issues with the city&#39;s status on jobs, economic development and education. Joining us are Carrie Thomas of the Chicago Jobs Council and Linda Lenz, Founder and Publisher of Catalyst Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong>Carrie Thomas is the Interim Executive Director of the<a href="https://twitter.com/chijobscouncil"> Chicago Jobs Council.</a> </em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Linda Lenz is the Founder and Publisher of </em><a href="https://twitter.com/CatalystChicago">Catalyst Chicago.</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008049&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Aldermanic races</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We examine the aldermanic candidates in 19 Chicago wards who are facing run-offs and more. Mick Dumke, Senior Writer, Chicago Reader weighs in.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong></em><em><a href="https://twitter.com/mickeyd1971">Mick Dumke</a> is a Senior Writer with the Chicago Reader.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008045&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Robert &quot;Bob&quot; Fioretti and Willie Wilson</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We hear post-election responses from mayoral candidates Robert &quot;Bob&quot; Fioretti and Willie Wilson.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong></em><em>Mayoral candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/Fioretti2ndWard">Robert &quot;Bob&quot; Fioretti.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Mayoral candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/ElectWillie">Willie Wilson</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008043&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">City pensions</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We take a closer look at the city&#39;s struggle to fund pensions and what it means for newly elected officials and the mayoral run-off in April. Civic Federation President Laurence Msall stops by for discussion.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:<a href="http://www.civicfed.org/civic-federation/staff/laurence-msall">&nbsp;</a></strong></em><em><a href="http://www.civicfed.org/civic-federation/staff/laurence-msall">Laurence Msall </a>is the President of the <a href="https://twitter.com/civicfederation">Civic Federation</a> in Chicago.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008039&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Public safety and neighborhoods</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We take a closer look at the issue of public safety and what came up for candidates during Tuesday&#39;s election. R.A.G.E. Englewood&#39;s Aysha Butler and Chicago Sun-Times Assistant City Editor Maudlyne Ihejrika join us.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://twitter.com/mrs_englewood">Aysha Butler</a> is with R.A.G.E. Englewood. </em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/maudlynei">Maudlyne Ihejrika</a> is the Urban Affairs reporter and Assistant City Editor at the </em>Chicago Sun-Times.</p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-25/morning-shift-post-election-special-111621 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into April runoff election http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-forced-april-runoff-election-111616 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" andrew="" class="image-original_image" garcia.="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rahmface_ag.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to supporters after finding out he faces a runoff with Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" wbez="" /></div></div><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed to capture a majority of the vote Tuesday in his bid for a second term, an embarrassment for the former White House chief of staff who now faces a runoff this spring against Cook County Commissioner Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia.</p><p>The result exposed possible vulnerability for an incumbent who has widespread support from business leaders, national name recognition and raised millions of dollars in campaign funds. He participated in half a dozen debates and forums and received a last-minute boost from President Barack Obama.</p><p>Still, he wasn&#39;t able to capture the more than 50 percent necessary to avoid an April 7 runoff against Garcia, a former alderman and state senator, who finished far below Emanuel&#39;s vote total but far above the other three challengers.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" an="" andrew="" april="" class="image-original_image" election="" emanuel="" face="" garcia="" in="" ll="" mayor="" mean="" rahm="" rallies="" response="" results="" runoff.="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chuyspeech_ag.jpg" style="height: 434px; width: 620px;" supporters="" that="" the="" title="Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia rallies supporters in response to the election results that mean he'll face Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an April runoff. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" to="" wbez="" /></div><p>&quot;We have come a long way, and we have a little bit further to go,&quot; Emanuel told supporters. &quot;This is the first step in a real important journey for our city.&quot;</p><p>Nodding to the themes in the weeks ahead, Emanuel noted the city&#39;s immigrant history after a bilingual address by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat who&#39;s been prominent in the national push for immigration reform and once was a critic of Emanuel.</p><p>Garcia, born in Mexico and raised in Chicago, got his start in politics as an immigrant rights activist in the city. He was a water commissioner under the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.</p><p>&quot;This city needs a mayor who will listen to people,&quot; Garcia told supporters, noting his support from neighborhood residents.</p><p>Garcia and Emanuel&#39;s other challengers &mdash; Alderman Bob Fioretti, businessman Willie Wilson and activist William Walls &mdash; had hoped to capitalize on resident discontentment over Emanuel&#39;s handling of schools and city violence.</p><p>Emanuel pushed for the closure of about 50 neighborhood schools in 2013, a year after the city&#39;s first teachers&#39; strike in 25 years. The Chicago Teachers Union &mdash; whose fiery leader had once considered a bid to challenge Emanuel &mdash; backed Garcia during the race as the alternative to Emanuel.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/luis_ag.JPG" style="height: 434px; width: 620px;" title="Rep. Luis Gutierrez spoke in support of Rahm Emanuel on election night. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Voters noted both issues at the polls, with early estimates signaling lower turnout than 2011 after former Mayor Richard Daley retired and the mayor&#39;s race was wide open. About 42 percent of eligible voters came to the polls.</p><p>Joyce Rodgers, who is retired, said she believed the school closings cost Emanuel the trust of the African-American community &mdash; and possibly the president&#39;s.</p><p>&quot;There is total disappointment (in Emanuel),&quot; she said. &quot;I believe that Obama&#39;s been let down, too, he&#39;s just not going to say it.&quot;</p><p>Still others in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood said they were supporting Emanuel because he is positive on issues such as job creation, education and safer neighborhoods.</p><p>&quot;Rahm has all (those) contacts and he is getting those corporations here, so he is giving people hope they can get a good job,&quot; said Willie King, a 56-year-old retired janitor.</p><p>On the campaign trail, Emanuel said his first term saw some tough decisions and payoffs, including budgets that didn&#39;t rely on property tax increases, drawing business to the city, getting a longer school day and raising the minimum wage.</p><p>The non-partisan election on Tuesday also featured contests for a new city treasurer, aldermen and advisory-style ballot questions on campaign finance and an elected school board.</p><p>Emanuel won his first mayoral race without a runoff four years ago. He ran an intense re-election bid, raising roughly $16 million, more than four times his challengers combined.</p><p>He vowed to hit the campaign trail on Wednesday morning, shaking hands at El train stops as he&#39;s been doing.</p><p>&quot;We will get back out there, talking to our friends and families and neighbors as they make a critical choice about who has the strength, who has the leadership, who has the ideas to move this great city forward,&quot; Emanuel said.</p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-forced-april-runoff-election-111616 Obama visits Chicago to designate Pullman monument, boost mayor http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-visits-chicago-designate-pullman-monument-boost-mayor-111589 <p><div class="sc-type-small"><div><p><strong>▲ LISTEN </strong><em>Chicago cultural historian Tim Samuelson joined WBEZ&#39;s </em>Morning Edition<em> anchor Lisa Labuz to talk about Pullman&#39;s history and what Obama designating it a national monument means.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pull%20ap%20file.PNG" style="height: 228px; width: 620px;" title="The Pullman Works administration building along with its 12-story clock tower, at left, is highlighted at sunset in Chicago. (AP/File)" /></div></div></div><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; President Barack Obama is turning a historic South Side neighborhood in Chicago into a national monument Thursday, in a visit that also could provide a political lift to the city&#39;s mayor.</p><p>Obama will formally designate the neighborhood where African-American railroad workers won a significant labor agreement in the 1930s as the Pullman National Monument. In the process, the president&#39;s trip to his hometown could help boost turnout for his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who is up for re-election on Tuesday.</p><p>A <em>Chicago Tribune </em>columnist called the president&#39;s announcement &mdash; commemorating African-Americans who served as porters, waiters and maids on the iconic Pullman sleeper cars &mdash; &quot;a big fat presidential bro-hug&quot; to Emanuel, the president&#39;s &quot;little buddy.&quot;</p><p>The White House says Obama is focused on the historical designation, which honors the neighborhood built by industrialist George Pullman in the 19th century for workers to manufacture luxurious railroad sleeping cars.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Curious City: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/will-pullman-ever-be-revitalized-107758">What would it take to revitalize Pullman?</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>The 203-acre Pullman site includes factories and buildings associated with the Pullman Palace Car Company, which was founded in 1867 and employed thousands of workers to construct and provide service on railroad cars. While the company employed a mostly white workforce to manufacture railroad passenger cars, it also hired former slaves to serve as porters, waiters and maids on its iconic sleeping cars.</p><p>The railroad industry &mdash; Pullman in particular &mdash; was one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the United States by the early 1900s. Pullman workers played a major role in the rise of the black middle class and, through a labor agreement won by the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, they helped launch the civil rights movement of the 20th century, the White House said.</p><p>Emanuel doesn&#39;t have big-name challengers in his push for a second term, but he faces the possibility of a runoff election if he doesn&#39;t get more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday. A Tribune poll found he&#39;s close to achieving that mark.</p><p>Before leaving Washington, Obama signed a proclamation in the Oval Office designating the Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, a 21,000-acre site along the Arkansas River popular for whitewater rafting. In Chicago, he was also expected to announce designation of the Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii, the site of an internment camp where Japanese-American citizens and prisoners of war were held during World War II.</p><p>In his appearance before students at a South Side magnet school, Obama also will launch the &quot;Every Kid in a Park&quot; initiative to provide all fourth-grade students across the country and their families with free admission to national parks and other federal lands and waters for a year, the White House said. The program begins with the 2015-2016 school year, marking the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service next year.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP469626824839.jpg" style="height: 424px; width: 620px;" title="Federal troops escort a train through jeering, fist-shaking workmen on August 20, 1958 in Chicago in this drawing of an incident during the Pullman strike of 1894. (AP/File)" /></div><p>The White House said the three new monuments &quot;help tell the story of significant events in American history and protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans.&quot;</p><p>The new monuments will bring to 16 the number of national monuments Obama has created under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which grants presidents broad authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites without congressional approval.</p><p>Some Republicans have complained that Obama has abused his authority, and they renewed their complaints over the new designations, especially the Colorado site, the largest in size by far among the three new monuments.</p><p>Obama should &quot;cut it out,&quot; said Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. &quot;He is not king. No more acting like King Barack.&quot;</p><p>Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said he was outraged by what he called &quot;a top-down, big-government land grab by the president that disenfranchises the concerned citizens in the Browns Canyon region&quot; in central Colorado, about 140 miles southwest of Denver.</p><p>Illinois&#39; two senators, Democrat Richard Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk, hailed the Pullman designation.</p><p>&quot;As Chicago&#39;s first national park, Pullman&#39;s 135 years of civil rights and industrial history will be protected and enjoyed for generations to come,&quot; Kirk said in a statement. &quot;This new national park will breathe new economic life into this community, bringing up to 30,000 visitors and more than $40 million each year.&quot;</p><p>Outdoors and wildlife groups hailed the Browns Canyon designation, which they said would allow future generations to enjoy its spectacular landscapes, world-class whitewater rafting, hunting and fishing.</p><p><em>&mdash; Matthew Daly of The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-visits-chicago-designate-pullman-monument-boost-mayor-111589 Super PAC brings 'DC-style politics' to local ward races, but to what effect? http://www.wbez.org/news/super-pac-brings-dc-style-politics-local-ward-races-what-effect-111551 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Super PAC thumb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A well-funded political action committee has sent a fresh round of negative mailers against two of Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s more vocal critics on City Council, but it remains unclear how much of an impact it&rsquo;s having on their local ward races.<br /><br />With city elections less than two weeks away, much has been made of the so-called &ldquo;super PAC&rdquo; created by a longtime aide and supporter of Mayor Rahm Emanuel to bolster his policy agenda.</p><p><a href="http://chicagoforward.org" target="_blank">Chicago Forward</a> is the first political action committee created expressly to funnel unlimited contributions into Chicago municipal races. So far, it has raised roughly $2.6 million from fewer than 50 donors, as it seeks to influence the mayoral election and roughly 20 aldermanic races.</p><p>But to some observers, the super PAC&rsquo;s involvement in often sleepy ward races is a little like bringing a gun to a knife fight.</p><p>&ldquo;Of course Rahm is using this to attack the Progressive Caucus of alderman,&rdquo; said Steve Jensen, an IT consultant and president of the Bucktown Community Organization.</p><p>Jensen&rsquo;s own alderman, Scott Waguespack (32nd), is among the most vocal of the eight Progressive Caucus members in City Council. As a bloc, they often dissent from Emanuel.</p><p>Jensen said he doesn&rsquo;t think it makes sense for a multimillion dollar, outside organization to try its hand in local ward races.</p><p>&ldquo;We can reach constituents more effectively with town hall meetings at the neighborhood level, social media, and a few mailers,&rdquo; Jensen said. &ldquo;And that right there is less than $100 thousand.&rdquo;</p><p>With a highly-coordinated field campaign of volunteers door knocking, phone banking and spreading the word about a candidate, Jensen said a relatively low-budget grassroots campaign could certainly prevail, even when a better-funded super PAC deploys glossy attack mailers.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the main reason Waguespack said he wasn&rsquo;t too concerned with Chicago Forward&rsquo;s negative pieces against him. In fact, at a recent campaign fundraiser at WhirlyBall, he tried to turn the point to his advantage.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how many of you got the mailer the other day,&rdquo; he said to a seated crowd of supporters. &ldquo;I was the recipient of the first mail piece from the superPAC.&rdquo;</p><p>The mailer blamed Waguespack for keeping potholes in his ward unfilled, because he voted against Emanuel&rsquo;s budget last year (which still passed). Waguespack said the message backfired, because voters know that Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Transportation is responsible for potholes &mdash; not aldermen. CDOT falls under the purview of the mayor.</p><p>&ldquo;I need your support over the next few weeks, phone banking, calling your friends, telling them (to) get out there and vote. This is not going to be an easy election,&rdquo; Waguespack continued. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re throwing millions of dollars at my fellow members.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, Chicago Forward has spent much more money trying to get Emanuel&rsquo;s city council allies re-elected. John Arena (45th) is the only incumbent who&rsquo;s found himself, like Waguespack, at the receiving end of an attack.</p><p>This week, Chicago Forward blanketed his ward with a negative mailer that claimed Arena would raise taxes. Arena, also a member of the city council&rsquo;s Progressive Caucus, has a record of voting the least with the mayor.</p><p>The injection of an outside player with access to limitless funds worries Waguespack. He accuses Emanuel of using Chicago Forward to bring &ldquo;DC-style politics&rdquo; to Chicago. &ldquo;[He&rsquo;s] using money to stifle any kind of discussion,&rdquo; Waguespack said. &ldquo;Divisive, mean-spirited, bullying-type attitude that he brought with him.&rdquo;</p><p>Rebecca Carroll, the CEO and Chairman of Chicago Forward, says the super PAC&rsquo;s objective is the opposite of that: she claims the group is trying to create consensus around how to deal with city challenges.</p><p>In an email to WBEZ, Carroll wrote, &ldquo;We need strong leaders at city hall who will roll up their sleeves and work as partners with this administration to address these challenges, even if they have differences in opinion or don&rsquo;t always agree with it.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, in Chicago, very few aldermen ever disagree with the mayor &mdash; city council votes with him <a href="http://pols.uic.edu/docs/default-source/chicago_politics/city_council_voting_records/city-council-report-7-january-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=2" target="_blank">90 percent</a> of the time. So what&rsquo;s the point?</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s aldermen that are being rubber stamps that don&rsquo;t want to be rubber stamps,&rdquo; said Cook County Clerk David Orr. &ldquo;It has a very chilling effect, which is what it is designed to do.&rdquo;</p><p>Orr, a former Chicago alderman, said the purpose of Chicago Forward may not just be to weaken Emanuel&rsquo;s critics in the Progressive Caucus. Instead, it may be a tool to keep Emanuel&rsquo;s allies in check.</p><p>&ldquo;I already have got a lot of alderman that I know darn well tell me one thing in terms of who they&rsquo;re publicly supporting [versus] who they want to support,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So yes, it doesn&rsquo;t always have to be to defeat someone. It can make you worry about being free to speak your mind.&rdquo;</p><p>But if Chicago Forward serves to muzzle some voices, it may also amplify others.</p><p>&ldquo;It distorts things by making the views and opinions basically of the wealthy donors &mdash; gives them an unfairly loud voice in the candidates&rsquo; ears about what policies and positions the candidates should pursue,&rdquo; said David Melton, Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.</p><p>Indeed, Chicago Forward&rsquo;s money is overwhelmingly from super-wealthy power players in the finance industry, with each contributing an average of $53,000.</p><p>&ldquo;And that is not a good thing for our democracy,&rdquo; Melton said.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 12:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/super-pac-brings-dc-style-politics-local-ward-races-what-effect-111551